Explore the Difference Between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Communication

Explore the Difference Between Interpersonal and Intrapersonal Communication

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Syed Aquib Ur
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager
Updated on Aug 24, 2023 16:10 IST

The main difference between interpersonal and intrapersonal communication is that the former takes place between two or more people, while the latter takes within an individual. Find out more.


Intrapersonal communication involves talking with or looking into oneself. Interpersonal communication involves two people at least. There are a few more differences between intrapersonal and interpersonal communication to take note of.

Let’s begin. 

Comparison Table | Interpersonal vs Intrapersonal Communication

Parameters Interpersonal Communication Intrapersonal Communication
Definition Exchange of information, ideas, and feelings between two or more individuals. Internal dialogue and self-talk within an individual.
Participants Involves two or more individuals interacting with each other. Involves a single individual communicating within oneself.
Nature External communication with verbal and non-verbal cues. Internal communication that occurrs silently without external involvement.
Context Occurs in face-to-face interactions, meetings, social gatherings, or through electronic means Occurs within an individual’s mind.
Focus Emphasises the exchange of information and the establishment of shared meaning between individuals. Focuses on self-awareness, thoughts, and emotions.
Examples Conversations, discussions, phone calls, video chats Thinking, daydreaming, self-reflection, inner dialogue

What is Intrapersonal Communication?

Intrapersonal communication happens in the mind with oneself. You can think of it as the inner voice or thought.

In terms of the basic communication process, there is a sender and receiver, meaning two parties are involved. This is true for interpersonal communication. But the sender, receiver, message, context, etc., exist within the person in intrapersonal communication. 

Many people also use synonyms such as self-to-self communication, as well as, autocommunication. 

So, in intrapersonal communication, one may not talk to oneself silently. One can also voice out by writing a diary or talking aloud privately. 

That’s why, intrapersonal communication generally includes thinking, self-speaking, and writing. All these acts can go into planning, forming opinions, evaluating risks, etc. 

Qualities of Intrapersonal Communication

Intrapersonal Communication is Our Individual Self Awareness or Self Conceptual

Self-awareness is about looking into oneself and adapting to the world. It is how we create our own values and beliefs, develop attitudes, etc. 

Intrapersonal Communication is Our Individual Perception

Perception deals with how we envision ourselves and others. But this may not be a reality always. We may have perceived that there are ghosts as children, but we realise they don’t exist when we grow up. 

Intrapersonal Communication is Our Individual Expectations

Intrapersonal communication is what we expect the world and ourselves to be. Doing an online course to get a better job is an expectation, for example. 

What is Interpersonal Communication?

Interpersonal communication is the process of exchanging thoughts or information between two people or more. This can happen face-to-face or online 

Interpersonal communication is considered to be one of the most valuable managerial skills when it comes to teamwork and performing the basic managerial functions. 

Also read on top interpersonal skills employers value.

Features of Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal Communication is Direct Interaction

Interpersonal flow of communication involves direct face-to-face interaction or communication between two or more individuals. It allows for immediate feedback and real-time exchange of information.

Verbal and Non-verbal Communication Happen Among Two More Individuals

This is one of the main characteristics of interpersonal communication. It encompasses both verbal and nonverbal cues. Verbal communication involves the use of words, language, and spoken or written communication. 

Non-verbal communication includes body language, facial expressions, gestures, tone of voice, and other non-verbal cues that convey meaning and emotions.

Explore the difference between verbal and non-verbal communication in more detail.

Interpersonal Communication is for Mutual Understanding

Interpersonal communication aims to establish a mutual understanding between the participants. It involves the encoding and decoding of messages so that the intended meaning is conveyed and understood by both the sender and receiver.

Interpersonal Communication is for Relationship Building

The interpersonal communication process plays a crucial role in building and maintaining relationships. It allows individuals to establish connections, develop trust, and foster meaningful interactions. It involves active listening, empathy, and respect for the perspectives of others.

Contextual Influence is Part of Interpersonal Communication

Interpersonal communication is influenced by the social, cultural, and situational context in which it takes place. The cultural background, social norms, and environmental factors can impact the communication process and shape the interpretation of messages.

Interpersonal Communication is for Emotional Expression

Interpersonal communication provides a platform for expressing and understanding emotions. It allows individuals to share their feelings, concerns, and experiences. It develops emotional connection and empathy.

Parting Thoughts

Both interpersonal and intrapersonal communication are important. They cannot exist without one another.

About the Author
Syed Aquib Ur Rahman
Assistant Manager

Aquib is a seasoned wordsmith, having penned countless blogs for Indian and international brands. These days, he's all about digital marketing and core management subjects - not to mention his unwavering commitment ... Read Full Bio